“The Ornament”, the first single off the debut album due out August 16th on Hardly Art, is all sunny symphonic backing with Olsen’s ragged smooth voice front and center joined by the layered harmonies of label-mates The Moondoggies. There’s an easy wiseness to Olsen’s voice, lyrics and the album’s orchestration. With ’60s psychedelic soul flourishes, these songs sound both charmingly retro and incredibly of the moment. Were I to compare it to anyone, I’d say Gold Leaves sound like Fleet Foxes recording Helplessness Blues on a budget, which is by no means a slight. The songs are more restrained, but still full and wild, with more hazy doo-wop than hymnal harmonies. It is an intoxicating mix and a perfect soundtrack for the golden hours of summer.
Over the sounds of screaming, foaming milk at Cafe Fiore last night, one-time-local and now Los Angeles based singer-songwriter, Amy Blaschke managed to transcend the unconventional venue and give me some serious goosebumps. Her delicate, down-trodden songs and voice and its emotional affect most reminded me of Karen Dalton, though her traditional folk styling and sky-scraping cedar harmonies could easily garner comparisons to a female Robin Pecknold. On our walk back to the car through a Ballard downpour, Josh compared Blaschke’s voice to a “less excitable Joni Mitchell.”
Whatever great vocalist she most reminds you of, Blaschke’s simple songs stand on their own. They are tunes you’ll find yourself quietly humming in the morning as you wake or sneaking into your dreams as you fall to sleep. While they aren’t hooky ear-worms, her minor chords haunt and hang in your head the way only the best sad songs and worst hangover do. While for now you’ll have to keep content listening to her Reverb Nation page on repeat, Blaschke told the small but attentive audience at Fiore that she’s recording in LA and to look out for a new album out in the next year. I’ll be waiting for it eagerly.
Now through mid-December, the plush rock photography of Jenny Jimenez will be crowding walls of West Seattle’s Skylark Cafe in a retrospective titled “Show Me Your TIFFs: Ten years of music photography.” In that decade she’s seen the rise of a new identity for the local scene, which she has in turn visualized in an artful and timeless fashion, photographing countless bands both professionally and for the love of it.
Thursday October 8th the Skylark will also play host to an opening party, that will additionally feature some large black and white prints by Jimenez as well as performances by Damien Jurado and Amy Blaschke. In the smaller print on the poster we note a male wet t-shirt contest will be held. Does this mean my growing beer-gut finally help me to win something? Or is that not the kind of cleavage this contest is after?
You can find a selection of the work that’s being showcased in a Seattle Weekly Slideshow. My favorite of hers might just be this Cave Singers album cover shot for Invitation Songs that’s below: